Friday, December 29, 2017

More Cold and More Oil on the New England Grid

Oil Use Increases

Once again, I will tell this blog in a series of pictures.

In my blog of December 27, I showed a snapshot of the New England grid in the early evening.  The temperature at my location was 7 degrees, the local marginal prices (LMP) on the grid were running around $200 MWh (20 cents per kWh), oil was 22% of the fuel mix, renewables were 11% of the fuel mix (I remarked that this was on the high side for renewables) and the high renewable percentage was due to the wind energy.  Wind was 50% of the renewables.  The blog post was Successful encouragement of oil on the New England Grid.  The source of all the information (except the local weather) was the ISO-NE web page, ISOExpress.

That post was on December 27.  Yesterday, December 28, I noted that the percentage of oil had gone up above 30%, and the portion of renewables had gone down.  But I didn't write another blog post. My snapshot is below. (Double click on any graphic to enlarge it.)

December 28 fuel mix

Getting Colder, and Oil Use Stays High

Today, around 1 pm, the temperature was 1 degree, as show below. The weather had gotten colder.

1 p.m. December 29 temperature
The price of power on the grid had also gotten higher, around $300/ MWh (30 cents per kWh)

1 pm December 29 prices on the grid

Though I must admit that as I write this at 3 p.m, the price has fallen again to around $200/ MWh.  Also, note the color codes on the map.  The colors show the prices graphically.  Closer to red is higher priced.

Oil use has stayed high, from December 28 evening (above) to one pm December 29, (when I took a bunch of screen shots) to right now at 3 pm.  Oil has been between 30 and 32% of the grid.

December 29, oil is around 30% of grid power

Not as much wind on the grid

What about the renewables?  On December 27, a windy day, renewables were at 11% of the grid, and wind was 50% of renewables.  (See my December 27 post for the graphics on this.)

Today, at one pm, not so much wind.  It was actually snowing rather gently.  At that time, renewables were only 7% of the grid power, and wind was only 13% of renewables.

Renewable mix on the grid. Wind at 13%.
 What next?

I think oil use will remain high until the cold weather is over, about a week from now.   The wind may spring up again in the evenings, or it may not.  Whichever it chooses.  Nobody controls the wind.  So renewables may continue at 7% or go up to 11% again.

On the other hand, we haven't really hit peak demand yet.  Here's a screen shot that I just took. This is the ISO-NE estimate of system loads today, and the actual loads up until 3 p.m.
System loads, as forecast
As you can tell in this chart, around 18 hours (6pm) looks like peak demand.  Check in and see if the percentage of oil goes up even further.  I'm going to check.  I'm curious.

Here's the link for these real time updates from ISO-NE, ISO Express.

In conclusion

Isn't it nice that you can store oil on site?  Maybe someone will notice what Rickover noticed: you can store nuclear fuel even more easily than you can store oil!  I wouldn't hold my breath for people to notice this.  (/snark)

Meanwhile, I will check back at about the grid at 6 p.m. but I won't be posting. I leave the evening results as "an exercise to the reader."

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